Leading freight and passenger airline ASL takes to the Cloud to digitise HR

As part of its mission to offer the best and most competitive service in the aviation market, the business has been pursuing a strategy of growth by acquisition. With a growing number of companies under its umbrella, bringing consistency and standardisation to processes has become a priority.

A decision was taken to move towards a unified HR system, which would support the company’s focus on operational excellence, cost-effectiveness and attracting and retaining the best people.


Finding the right HR solution

The search for a provider that could meet ASL’s complex, global needs began.

After extensive research, a number of alternative HR systems were presented to the Board and the business opted for Cezanne HR, which one of its recent acquisitions-Switzerland – based Farnair – was in fact already successfully using.

“Overall, Cezanne HR was the product that was most suited to our organisation, reflected our approach and values and offered the best value for money,” said Group Personnel Director Ian Reece. “We were looking for a system that was adaptable and flexible enough to meet our global requirements, could be deployed quickly, and didn’t have the price tag of older enterprise solutions – which we simply couldn’t justify. “

Cezanne HR’s modern GDPR-compliant Cloud technology platform and pricing model helped to swing the final decision. The business particularly liked the easy data upload option and modular, volume-based pricing structure, which meant it could ramp up its use of the HR system gradually to match business growth. The option to trial additional modules at a lower initial cost was also attractive.

“We liked the fact that you can try things out and see if they work for you before moving to full pricing, which means the system is able to grow alongside the business,” said Ian.


Digitising HR and removing friction

ASL is currently managing 1100 employees through the system. Other companies within the group are gradually being transitioned, with plans to integrate the French company within the next few months and the entire European workforce by the end of 2019.

The Cezanne HR system has allowed ASL to streamline core HR processes across the business and provide secure online access to employees and their managers 24/7. Employees are able to update their personal records, request time off, complete performance reviews and access important information online at any time from a mobile, tablet, laptop or PC.

Disconnected processes and HR databases have been replaced by a unified, and much more coherent and consistent approach – with local variations when needed. It is saving everyone time, reducing administrative backlogs and has improved the quality of information available to the business.

“It provides a single, central source of information and is allowing us to improve the accuracy of our data and generate the reports we need to inform decisions quickly and easily,” Ian explains.

The document management feature of the People module is being extensively used, further helping the business to digitise HR. “We can generate and send personalised documents to individual employees or groups of employees for e -signature in just a few seconds,” Ian explains, “as well as easily check on whether they’ve been signed. In our industry, where compliance is essential, this is extremely useful.”


Covering the full employee life cycle

Building on Farnair’s experience with Cezanne HR, ASL took the decision to implement the core People and Absence management module, followed by the Recruitment and Selection module, and more recently the Performance, Onboarding & Lifecycle and Succession & Career modules. The system is now providing an end-to-end HR solution covering the complete employee journey, from recruitment and onboarding, through performance and career development to life-cycle management.

Alongside the modules in the system, ASL has also been making use of Cezanne HR’s open API (application programming interface) to enable integration with other systems used by the company. This means that HR information is not locked into the HR system, but available to support other essential activities within the business.


Supporting the performance conversation

The performance management module, which is part way through supporting the annual appraisal system for the first time, is helping to reduce admin time and make the process easy for everyone involved. But it is also proving a useful vehicle to encourage a greater consistency across the company’s international operations where it matters.

“Although people are used to their own information and processes and are comfortable with them, Cezanne HR is flexible and adaptable enough to cope with any concerns, allowing us to work around our own performance model,” said Ian. It is allowing us to have a group-wide policy with local variances to take account of cultural differences.”


Becoming an employer of choice

ASL believes that in a difficult recruitment market, where the pool of talent is diminishing, Cezanne HR is helping to give it competitive advantage.

All jobs are now advertised through the recruitment and selection module, offering candidates an efficient, seamless process. The recruitment software enables the company to convey clear messages about its brand and values from the very first contact with a prospective employee.

Ian Reece explains that the responsiveness of the system, coupled with the easy availability of consistent corporate information, helps position ASL as an ‘employer of choice’.

“We are not a big brand name like British Airways or EasyJet, but we are a company of substance and the software is helping us show candidates the depth and breadth of the business,” he said. “By the time they come into the office to do an assessment, they will have a full knowledge of the company’s purpose and what we stand for.”

Once a job offer has been made, the onboarding module kicks in, making sure that everything is in place, ready for when the new recruit arrives. “It’s a seamless process. The personal information is correct, the payroll has been set up and the key documents have been processed from the outset. People don’t have to worry about the small details, they can just concentrate on the new job,” says Ian.


Growing together

ASL has benefited enormously from the improved management information that a unified system provides. Line managers are able to easily access the data they need to inform decisions and manage their teams. Employees have also welcomed the self-service functionality, which allows them to manage their personal data, at a time and place to suit them.

The system has been able to accommodate the company’s global workforce, enabling them to not only deal with multiple currencies, working time patterns, absence rules and calculations, but to reflect local processes as well.

Ian Reece says one of the biggest advantages, is the fact that Cezanne HR is continually developing. “The product is constantly evolving and responding to customer needs,” he says. “They have really worked in partnership with us, and the support has been excellent. I don’t envisage a situation where in one or two acquisitions time, we will feel we have outgrown it. The structure is growing, the product is growing, and our need for Cezanne HR is growing too.”